Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Mandarin

So I bought a Bowen mini-bust. Why? To class my apartment up a bit. Also because it was insanely cheap. There's a slight chip (so slight it's almost impossible to see) that brough the normal price down to $15, and I found it during a sale where everything in the store was half off, so I got this guy for under $10.


But why did I decide to get this guy? Well, for one thing, it's the Mandarin. A Fu-Manchu, yellow peril archetype villain who has somehow stuck around through sheer inertia. And this bust depicts him back when he was at his most silver age. Which is to say when his character was essentially was Chinese McAsian: Mystical Far East Terror.

Did you know that the Mandarin is half-caucasian? His mother was white. But he was raised by his father's mother, who taught him to be an Asian villain. Then he found 10 alien rings that essentially gave him power over the reality of a limited space. He seemed to be magic and voila: horrible stereotype!

So I got this out of an ironic fascination with artifacts of racism against Asians in American history. Based on how the dude is posed it's hard to see the fu-manchu mustache, which is a shame since that's the most obvious sign pointing to his yellow peril status. Well that and the fricking dragon on his base. Nothing says mystical Asian better than a dragon.

Let's take a look at that chip which robbed this bust of 66% of its value. It's on left tip of the mask.

Did you spot it? Look carefully. It's that white tip on the top. Yup, that's the chip that brought down the price of this bust so damn low. You can barely see it when you look at it further than two feet away. And really, since I don't collect this stuff for the resale value, I think I'm fine with a chip like that. Especially if it means I can buy it for 17% of it's current price.

The only real downside to this bust is that due to his cape, the bust is a little back heavy. It balances well, but the slightest knock or jolt sends it toppling back. I'm going to have to figure out a display option that eliminates that part.


  1. That statue is freaking sweet! Nothing beats classic Mandarin! Btw, how much do those statues usually run? You're making me want one now!

  2. I've seen them on e-bay for around $40-$50 with shipping.